Junoon reunion was amongst Junaid Jamshed’s last wishes: Salman Ahmad | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Junoon reunion was amongst Junaid Jamshed’s last wishes: Salman Ahmad

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Tuesday night saw the biggest band of South Asia come together after 13 long years. Karachiites were treated to a Junoon reunion after much speculation over whether fans would get to see the Pakistani rock legends perform ever again.

And so, it was as much a night of classics as it was a night of fond memories. Continuing in the same spirit, guitarist Salman Ahmed got emotional on stage whilst recalling his last conversation with the late musician Junaid Jamshed.

Ahmed revealed that the night before travelling to Chitral, the Vital Signs frontman had called him up and they spoke for two hours. “He talked about everything under the sun and just kept on talking,” he remembered. The guitarist was moved and surprised at JJ’s persistence to speak. “I was like, ‘You’re just going to Chitral’ but he kept on going on and on.”

It was then that JJ told Ahmad he really wishes for Junoon to reunite. “He said, ‘Salman, I really wish you and Ali could get back together’,” the musician told an already sentimental audience.

Throughout the concert Ahmad insisted that Tuesday’s Junoon reunion had taken place because of the bands fans – fondly referred to as the ‘Junoonis’ – around the world, because of Pakistan and because of Junaid Jamshed. Much to everyone’s surprise, the band’s loud and proud lead singer Ali Azmat behaved rather well on stage, which is unlike him.

Mind you, it hasn’t been easy getting Junoon back together. The efforts to reunite the band had been well underway for at least the past couple of years and it is interesting to see how many failed before the concert this week. The first major player to try and bring Ahmad and Azmat together was Coca Cola.

In season 10, the producers and the brand and marketing team at Coca Cola had managed to convince both Ahmad and Azmat to feature in the anniversary episode of Coke Studio. This was meant to commemorate 10 years of the prolific music platform and reunite Junoon but apparently it didn’t happen due to creative differences between the two. Rumour has it that the former didn’t want Ahmad to sing and walked away, which sounds like a crazy fan theory except that multiple industry insiders have confirmed the ‘creative difference’ bit.

The other theory for the reunion that failed to happen revolves around budget issues, which doesn’t really make sense given that the brand had ‘convinced’ them to reunite.

The second brand that went after Junoon was Pepsi. A reunion on season two of Pepsi Battle of the Bands was pretty much finalised when it was revealed that Azmat was already doing Coke Studio 11.

Then Sooper reunited Junoon for an August 14 video titled Khudi. The video received severe criticism for being too basic video but it was just a teaser for the series of live concerts that were to happen now.

Anyway, Tuesday night proved the audience still loves Junoon even if they don’t sound as tight and grand as they used to in their heydays. Here’s to hoping for a new Junoon album sometime soon.

The Express Tribune